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Week 8 football preview: Newfield-Connetquot meeting has major playoff implications

Newfield quarterback Maxwell Martin passes the football against

Newfield quarterback Maxwell Martin passes the football against Lindenhurst during a Suffolk football game on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Connetquot and Newfield are strange to each other on the football field. The teams have little history and haven’t played since the T-Birds beat Newfield, 34-13, in a game 18 years ago.

Newfield is not the program it was in the leaner years leading up to the school’s first Long Island Class II championship in 2011. The Wolverines went on to capture another Class II title in 2015.

“They’re respected as a hard-hitting team for sure,” said Connetquot coach Mike Hansen, who led the T-Birds to the L.I. Class I crown in 2008. “We moved down into Division II and I can tell you it’s an incredibly tough division this year. We can line up and beat anybody and we can line up and get beat by anybody.”

Connetquot (3-4) lines up on the road against Newfield (5-2) in a Suffolk Division II season finale that carries major playoff implications Saturday at 2 p.m. in Selden. A win would move the T-Birds as high as fifth in the division. A Newfield win combined with a loss by either Centereach or North Babylon would earn the Wolverines a home playoff game.

“There’s so much on the line because so much movement can happen between the third and eighth positions in our division this week,” said Newfield’s first-year coach Nick Adler. “The guys understand what’s at stake.”

Newfield will have an added incentive as they recognize some of the great players from the past when they honor the newest members of the school’s football Hall of Fame at halftime. It’s a big day in the ‘Den’.

The Wolverines need to stop Connetquot’s passing combo of quarterback Drew Guttieri to wide receiver Cole Bunicci, who have connected for eight touchdowns. The T-Birds average 25 points per game.

“We live and die by the pass because we rely on it,” Hansen said. “A lot can go wrong with the passing game. A dropped pass, a bad route, a poor decision, anything really. But when we’re clicking, it’s a thing of beauty.”

Newfield relies on quarterback Maxwell Martin, who is a dual threat, to average 27 points per game. He has 14 total scores, including nine TD passes.\

“It’s a crazy division, you have to show up every week.” Adler said. “The teams that won’t qualify for playoffs are very good. We put the pieces together last week against Smithtown West and we want to build off that.”

SUFFOLK II

Half Hollow Hills East at Centereach, Friday, 6 p.m.: A win secures a home playoff game for Centereach (4-3) but Hills East (5-2) is surging after a 28-21 win over Smithtown East last week moved them into the playoff picture. Centereach has three one score losses and plays solid defense. Hills East averages 30 points per game.

SUFFOLK II

Lindenhurst at Huntington, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: Huntington halfback Nasir Youngblood is a fantastic runner with 15 TD and 1,047 yards rushing. He comes up against the stingiest defense in the division. Lindenhurst (7-0), the defending champion, has allowed only seven points per game. Huntington is 5-2 and allows 12 points per game.

SUFFOLK II

West Islip at North Babylon, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Two ground and pound teams in a game that may not last more than two hours. West Islip (6-1) has secured a home playoff game. North Babylon is 5-2 after halfback Dylan Diaz scored four TD’s last week.

NASSAU I

Syosset at Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK, Friday, 6 p.m.: Plainview (4-3) is currently seventh in the power rankings and Syosset

(2-5) is ninth in a game that should have a playoff atmosphere. And here’s why. A win would propel the Braves into a playoff position. The playoffs basically start for these two teams in this season finale.

NASSAU I

Massapequa at Oceanside, Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: Two of Nassau’s passing leaders get after it in a game where they will air it out. Charlie McKee has completed 142 of 205 passes for 2,043 yards and 18 touchdowns with five interceptions. Massapequa’s John Giller has thrown for 1,060 yards and 13 touchdowns and only one pick.   

NASSAU II

Bellmore JFK at Calhoun, Saturday, 2 p.m.: An opportunity for one of these teams to finish the season on a high note. Both teams are 0-7 and would love to finish with a win.

GREGG SARRA (66-20)

Centereach

Floral Park

Friends Academy

Garden City

Seaford

Long Beach

Malverne

Massapequa

North Shore

Wantagh

Syosset

Valley Stream Central

Baldwin

Connetquot

Half Hollow Hills West

Lindenhurst

Port Jefferson

ANDY SLAWSON (64-22)

Centereach

Lawrence

Valley Stream South

Garden City

Seaford

New Hyde Park

Malverne

Massapequa

North Shore

Wantagh

Plainview JFK

VS Central

Baldwin

Newfield

Hills West

Lindenhurst

Port Jefferson

ROGER RUBIN ( 66-20)

Centereach

Floral Park

Friends Academy

Garden City

Seaford

New Hyde Park

Malverne

Oceanside

North Shore

Wantagh

Plainview JFK

Sewanhaka

Baldwin

Newfield

Hills West

Lindenhurst

Port Jefferson

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